Nursing Care of Pediatric Cranioplasty
Patients after Traumatic Brain Injury:
Monitoring Benefits and Complications
Purpose: To explore the benefits and complications of cranioplasty in pediatric patients and implications for nursing care and monitoring.
Design: A review of current literature on cranioplasty benefits and complications was conducted using Ovid, Scopus, and PubMed, with the search terms cranioplasty, craniectomy, traumatic brain injury, complications, benefits, and pediatrics. Inclusion criteria included original research published on cranioplasty complications and benefits within the past 20 years. Due to the paucity of research on pediatric cranioplasty patients, adult studies were included. Seventeen out of 105 peer-reviewed journal articles from 2002-2016 met criteria and include retrospective reviews and case reports. One article was added per expert recommendation.
Methods: Common benefits and complications of cranioplasty were compared and summarized.
Conclusions: Literature indicates there are clear benefits to cranioplasty. Repairing the skull protects the brain and improves the cosmetic appearance and neurological status of patients. Cranioplasty has a high rate of post-surgical complications, including bone flap resorption, surgical site infection, seizures, hematomas, and hydrocephalus. The pediatric population experiences different complications compared to adult patients.
Practice Implications: Nurses are integral members of the team who monitor cranioplasty patients. Increasing awareness of pediatric cranioplasty benefits and complications among nurses will assist them in providing expert care and improving outcomes.